Rating: 6/10 (Samantha all the way)
Cast: Samantha Akkineni, Rajendra Prasad, Rao Ramesh, Lakshmi, Naga Shourya, Pragathi, Teja Sajja, Snigdha, Jagapathi Babu
Screenplay-Direction: Nandini Reddy
Based on: Miss Granny (Remake)
Music: Mickey J Meyer
Producer: D Suresh Babu, Sunitha Tati, TG Viswa Prasad & Hyunwoo Thomas Kim
Banner: Suresh Productions, People's Media Factory, Guru Films & Kross Pictures
Format Watched: Netflix
Samantha is back with her latest movie Oh Baby. Making waves for its unique concept and bubbly trailer, the film is directed by Nandini Reddy. An official remake of Korean movie Miss Granny, the film also features senior actress Lakshmi garu, Naga Shourya, Nata Kireeti Rajendra Prasad garu, and Rao Ramesh in important roles. Released on July 12th, the film went onto to become a blockbuster and I finally got a chance to watch it. Let's check it out in today's review.
Plot: A 70 year old woman named Baby (Lakshmi) who runs a canteen visits with her friend Chanti (Rajendra Prasad) is transformed into her 24 year old self (Samantha) after visiting a photo booth at a fair. What happens next forms the rest of Oh Baby.
Performances: It's Samantha's show all the way. She is excellent, lively and cheerful the entire movie. From the moment she enters the screen till the last frames, she is ball of energy and delivers a knockout performance. The role requires someone with a lot of expertise and acting prowess to pull off an elderly person's body language as a young person. And Samantha does it effortlessly. She is the soul of this movie.
If Samantha is the soul, then Lakshmi garu is the heart. She is phenomenal as the older baby and delivers a very moving performance in the first 30 mins and puts a smile on your face in the very last frame when she returns.
Rajendra Prasad garu is hilarious and shows his versatility once again as Chanti. His legendary comic timing and natural flair bring out the best in him and he is equally adept in the emotional scenes.
Rao Ramesh as Baby's son also shows his versatility as well and gets ample scope to perform in some emotional scenes. He's superb in particular in the sentimental climax scene.
Naga Shourya is decent and makes his presence felt. There's not much to talk about on the performance front.
Child artist Teja Sajja makes his big screen debut as Baby's grandson and he's good.
Pragathi is convincing as the daughter in law who doesn't like Baby.
Direction: Nandini Reddy is back after a long gap and is given the task to remake a famous Korean movie. Given the fact that the producers are the ones who made the original, the pressure probably mounted on her. In all, she does a decent job. Maybe it just me or the type of movie or the hype that people were saying about the movie, but the direction never felt as good or as convincing as people were saying. She is definitely one director who knows how to extract good performances from her cast and is good at handling emotional scenes, which are the highlights of Oh Baby. The comedy is very hit or miss and depending on your tastes you will enjoy it. There are definitely a lot of flaws, but Samantha's performance probably covers up 75%. She alone makes it a one time watch and reduces Nandini's job in half. Overall, Nandini Reddy does an adequate job and tries to make Oh Baby an enjoyable family fare for the most part.
Technicalities: Music and BGM by Mickey J Meyer is adequate. Unfortunately it is one of the films liabilities. Cinematography by Richard Prasad is rich and vibrant. Production Design by Vithal K is excellent. Dialogues by Lakshmi Bhupala are good. Editing by Junaid Siddiqui is not good. The film is too long for its own good and dragged. Costumes and Styling are good. Production Values are grand and solid for a film like this. Since it's co produced by the company that made the original Korean movie, they made sure it looks nice on screen and the money shows.
+ Unique Concept and Story
+ Fun Moments
- Forced Comedy
Analysis and Final Take: Oh Baby was a massive success given the budget and Samantha's popularity. But for some reason, this film just felt underwhelming and average at best. Maybe it was due to the over praising that it received in the USA audience or the appreciation it got from all quarters. But in short, Oh Baby was a decent movie in my opinion.
I guess my biggest problem was with the direction. It felt half baked from Nandini Reddy. The film definitely has some good performances from the cast and fun moments, but they felt few and far between. There were definitely some very cringeworthy moments and I was shocked that most people gave it a pass in regards to acting and in the name of comedy. Despite Samantha's performance, I found it hard to connect with the film emotionally on any level.
The first half is definitely fun and sets up the stage nicely. The 2nd half is dragged and has a lot of themes such as sacrifice and familial love. The climax scene in particular is heart touching. But this is a movie that is definitely divise in my opinion.
Overall, Oh Baby makes for a decent family entertainer that rides on Samantha's performance. How much you like this movie depends on how much of a sucker you are for family movies or how close you are with your grandparents. I personally didn't connect to the film like many others hence what many would call a low rating. Watch it only if you're a hardcore fan of Samantha or love family movies.